Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Help us improve our service

Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

Subscriptions: see

Gabler, Johann Philipp

(173 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter
[German Version] (Jun 4, 1753, Frankfurt am Main – Feb 17, 1826, Jena), Protestant theologian, became professor of OT at Altdorf in 1785, and at Jena in 1804, where he had studied OT and NT exegesis from 1772 to 1778 with J.G. Eichhorn and J.J. Griesbach. Linked with theological neology (Enlightenment: II, 4.c), but not a rationalist, Gabler successfully developed the program (Mar 30, 1787) for the methodological separation of a “biblical theology” set apart from variable dogmatics by historical e…


(549 words)

Author(s): Spindler, Marc R.
[German Version] was a French colony until Independence Day, Aug 17, 1960. The Gabonese Republic is ruled by a presidential system, since 1967 under President Omar Bongo. The official language is French but vernaculars such as Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou, Bandjabi are used too. Gabon has an area of 267,670km2; the population was estimated at 1,226,000 in 1999. Export of timber, manganese, uranium, and oil brings exceptional but fluctuating wealth to the country, yet many people live in poverty and employment is high. A quarter of the population follow the ancestral tradition…


(12 words)

[German Version] Daniel/Book of Daniel, IV; Angels: II, IV, IX


(304 words)

Author(s): Flynn, William
[German Version] 1. Andrea (c. 1533, probably in Venice – 1585, Venice), was a prolific and talented composer. His professional appointments included organist at San Geremia in Cannaregio (1557) and from 1566 to 585 organist at San Marco. He wrote ceremonial music for the state and religious occasions in Venice; his music (including numerous motets and sacred concerti) was collected and published after his death by his nephew and most famous pupil Giovanni (2.). Bibliography Bibl.: see 2 below. 2. Giovanni (c. 1553/1556, Venice – 1612, Venice), a prolific and influential com…

Gabriel Severus

(162 words)

Author(s): Podskalsky, Gerhard
[German Version] (before 1540, Monemvasia, Greece – Oct 21, 1616, Venice) was the most important metropolitan of Philadelphia (see: Venice). In 1572, he came to Venice as a monk and became the pastor of the Greek parish there. Gabriel corresponded with many scholars, including Martin Crusius, and advocated the Gregorian calendar reform and the common celebration of Easter (Paschal/Easter calendrical controversies) with the Latins (1589/90). He became entangled in a long polemic with Maximus Margunius over the egression of the Holy Spirit ( Filioque ). Signifi…

Gadamer, Hans-Georg

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] (Feb 11, 1900, Marburg – Mar 13, 2002). Gadamer is the most important representative of philosophical hermeneutics; the fact that hermeneutics has developed into a firmly established philosophical approach is due to him and his principal work, Wahrheit und Methode, 1969 (ET: Truth and Method, 21989). Gadamer studied first in Wrocław (Breslau) and then in Marburg. In 1922 he obtained his doctorate under P. Natorp. In 1923 he spent a semester studying in Freiburg im Breisgau, where he met M. Heidegger, who was to become his re…


(166 words)

Author(s): Weber, Thomas
[German Version] (modern: Umm Qais). Gadara was the municipal center of Hellenism in the Transjordan, the birthplace of several poets and philosophers, a member of the decapolis and the site of the demon exorcism in Matt 8:28. A Macedonian colony in the 4th century bce, Gadara was under Ptolemaic-Seleucid dominion in the Hellenistic era. Liberated from Hasmonean occupation by Pompey (64/63 bce), the city was transferred from Augustus to Herod. After regaining autonomy, it was pro-Roman in the First Jewish Revolt. In the Byzantine era an episcopal see, Gad…


(140 words)

Author(s): Hainthaler, Theresia
[German Version] Gaianus, patriarch of Alexandria, 535. For 103 days, he was the anti-patriarch of the adherents of Julian of Halicarnassus (Julianists) and the people against Theodosius of Alexandria, whom the imperial envoy ultimately declared the legitimate patriarch. Gaianus was expelled to Carthage (May 23 or 25, 535), and later to Sardinia. The Gaianites, who were determined adherents of the mia physis doctrine (Christology: II, 1) and who held Julian's doctrine that the body of Jesus Christ was already incorruptible before the resurrection, were na…

Gaia Theories

(350 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk
[German Version] regard the earth as a self-regulating system that behaves like an organism. The British atmo-¶ spheric chemist, James E. Lovelock, justified this view in the 1960s. He pointed out that, in contrast to the inactive Mars, the earth, even viewed from outer space, already seems to be a “living” system because of its oxygen-rich atmosphere apart from its chemical balance. Its atmosphere, however, is a result of the process of respiration of earth's smallest living beings. Contrary to traditional Darw…

Gaismair, Michael

(143 words)

Author(s): Klaassen, Walter
[German Version] (c. 1491, near Vipiteno [Ger. Sterzing], Italy – April 1532, Padua [assassinated]), was a leader in the Peasants' War in Tyrol (1525–1526). Gaismair probably had legal training. During his service as secretary to Bishop Sebastian Sprenz in Brixen, he was chosen leader by insurgent peasants in May, 1525. The revolt failed. Gaismair fled to Zürich, where he composed his Landesordnung, a Christian socio-political program for Tyrol. His passion for justice and military skill fed his hope for the realization of his vision. Walter Klaassen Bibliography Sources: A. Holla…


(164 words)

Author(s): Halfwassen, Jens
[German Version] Gaius, a mid-Platonist (Platonism), he taught in the 1st half of the 2nd century ce and was the teacher of Albinus, whose transcription of Gaius's lecture on “elements of Plato's doctrine” filled nine books; it was read in the school of Plotinus. Other works of Gaius are not extant, although a fragment of a preserved anonymous commentary on Plato's Theaitetos that associates the Stoic (Stoics) oikeiosis doctrine with Plato's doctrine of the imitation of God as the highest goal in life, may reflect Gaius's influence. It is certain that, in his c…

Gaius, Antimontanist

(6 words)

[German Version] Montanism


(222 words)

Author(s): Lührmann, Dieter
[German Version] In the course of their wanderings throughout Europe, Celtic tribes from the lower Danube region ultimately arrived in Asia Minor via Greece (278 near Delphi) in the 3rd century bce. Settled in the central Anatolian plateau and cut off from other Celtic settlements for several generations, they constituted a linguistic and cultural island in the region between the rivers Sangarikos (Sakarya) and Halys (Kilil Irmak), thus in the vicinity of the modern Turkish capital, Ankara. They ¶ competed with the Phrygian population and with the neighboring Pergamum; the…


(1,451 words)

Author(s): Lührmann, Dieter
[German Version] I. Introduction – II. Content – III. Interpretation I. Introduction Galatians, like the other authentic letters of Paul, stems from the period of his activity around the Aegean (c. 50–55). These letters were probably collected in Asia Minor even before the turn of the century, and thus Galatians was also transmitted as part of the Corpus Paulinum. The occasion for this letter was the news of the attempt to re-evangelize the Galatian congregations; we do not know how Paul learned of this. He saw the gospel as so fundamentally questio…


(196 words)

Author(s): Kaplan, Steven
[German Version] (Claudius; c. 1522–1559; reign 1540–1559), was the son of the Ethiopian emperor Lebna Dengel. After the death of his father, Galāwdēwōs ascended the throne in 1540 at the age of 18, taking the royal name Asnaf Sagad. At the time of his accession Ethiopia had been overrun by Muslim conquerors, led by Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, known as Ahmad “Gran” (the left-handed). On Feb 21, 1543, Galāwdēwōs and his Portuguese allies met and defeated Gran's troops. Gran, himself, was killed, an…

Galen, Christoph Bernhard von

(176 words)

Author(s): Kampmann, Jürgen
[German Version] (Oct 10, 1606, Haus Bisping near Rinkerode – Sep 19, 1678, Ahaus). In 1630, he became cathedral treasurer, on Nov 14, 1650 prince-bishop of Münster, while, from 1661, he served as administrator of Corvey Abbey. Through visitations, regular diocesan synods and the employment of Jesuits for pastoral care and education, Galen promoted the objectives of Counter-Reformation with lasting effect. Militarily, he conquered the city of Münster in 1661, but he was unable to secure territorial gains resulting from clashes with the Netherlands and with Sweden for the long term. Jü…

Galen, Clemens August

(282 words)

Author(s): Kuropka, Joachim
[German Version] (count von; Mar 16, 1878, Burg Dinklage – Mar 22, 1946, Münster, Westphalia). After ordination to the priesthood (1904), Galen was a pastoral counselor in Berlin 1906–1929; he was transferred to Münster in 1929; in order to counteract National Socialist tendencies in the Westphalian Catholic nobility, he was installed as the bishop of Münster on Oct 28, 1933. Shaped by an aristocratic duty-ethos, neo-Thomist theology, and family experience of the Kulturkampf , beginning in 1919, adopting the thought of his great-uncle W.E. Ketteler…

Galerius Edict

(8 words)

[German Version] Toleration, Edicts of


(516 words)

Author(s): Meyers, Eric M.
[German Version] is comprised of two regions, Upper and Lower Galilee in northern Palestine. It stretches approx 70 km from north to south. The hills of Lower Galilee rise approx 600 m above sea level, those of the Upper Galilee 1200 m. It is situated between the Litani river in Lebanon and the Jezreel valley in Israel. The average yearly rainfall in Upper Galilee is 800 mm, in Lower Galilee 600 mm, the former consisting mainly of rugged mountains, the latter of fertile valleys interspersed along the east-west mountain range. Galilee first occurs as a proper name in Joshua (20:7; 21:…

Galilee, Sea of

(462 words)

Author(s): Zangenberg, Jürgen
[German Version] (Kinneret, Gennesaret, Tiberias). With dimensions of approx 21×12 km (surface area 170 km2) and approx 4 billion m3 of water, the Sea of Galilee (Heb. יָם כִּנֶּרֶת/ yām kinneret, Num 34:11; Gk ϑάλασσα τῆς Γαλιλαίας/ thálassa tḗs Galilaías, Matt 4:18, etc.; Arab. baḥret ṭabariye) is the largest freshwater sea in the Levant. Fed by the Jordan, its water level hovers around -209 m, its depth totals approx 24 m (max. 43 m). The oldest traces of settlement in the region date back to the early Paleolithic. Because of the wealt…
▲   Back to top   ▲